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Police’s assertion that firearm amnesty helps to combat crime is untrue

The police service is trying to create the impression that it was the firearm amnesty period that lead to the decrease in a wide variety of crime, while it was actually a direct result of the countrywide lockdown.

Today during a meeting of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police, the FF Plus objected to the police's attempts to mislead the Committee in this regard.

Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, admitted that approximately 50% of the firearms that were turned in during the previous amnesty period were firearms of which the licences had merely expired and that had not been used in any sort of criminal activities.

The FF Plus pointed out to Minister Cele that saying that 'guns kill' is like saying pencils make spelling errors.

According to the police, there was no intention to mislead the Committee and none of the firearms that were turned in to police stations for ballistic testing were stolen while in police custody.

The police requested the Committee to approve a further period of amnesty during which unwanted or illegal firearms can be turned in, because the lockdown had a negative impact on the number of firearms that were handed in.

The FF Plus pointed out that the process could not proceed before a legal notice stipulating the conditions for such a firearm amnesty period is submitted to the Committee. The said legal notice must also first be discussed by the Committee before it can be published in the Government Gazette.

The law does not allow for an amnesty period to be extended, as Minister Cele attempted to do, and therefore, a new amnesty period must be requested. As soon as the legal notice stipulating the amnesty conditions has been submitted to the Police Committee, a new amnesty period can be approved and then the matter can be referred to the National Assembly for consideration.

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